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Highlights from the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show

Friday, February 17th, 2012

CES 2012 – Can you feel the beat?

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 kicked off the year with over 140,000 visitors, 3,300 exhibitors, covering 1.8 million net square feet in Las Vegas. With new product announcements in the tablet, phone, laptop, HDTV, camera, and gadget categories the overarching message was importance of a very high speed, ubiquitous cloud and the importance of technology and lifestyle integration.

 According to David Lahme, President of TradePort USA, a consumer electronics reverse logistics company based in Somersworth, “CES 2012 continues to draw major industry players competing for the spotlight. Attendance is climbing back up to where it was in a boom economy. The energy was contagious.” He remarked that overall, many of the business partners he met with were bullish on the U.S. economy, and that “high morale was great to see and that transcends to positive business for all of us.”

What’s our future look like? Within the decade you can expect 3-D printers, hologram tablets, and office glass windows to transform into networked media screens and digitized touch sensitive white boards. What’ the impact on our current network? There are 400 million devices connected today, namely computers and mobile devices. By 2020, the estimate is 50 billion devices. What is being added to the mix are cars, appliances, radios, phones, etc. talking to each other.  Expect to speak to most devices and have them to listen, interpret, and perform. “Play CNN news highlights. Drive to the office via the gym. Connect me with my conference call. Record session, transcribe, and save in the database.”

Moore’s Law is the heartbeat behind several new announcements. Semiconductor companies are striving to provide Watson-like supercomputing power into your mobile device, at the tune of triple digit terabytes and multi-gigahertz processors. Image the size of the network. At CES 2012, we had a glimpse of those devices getting ready for another technology explosion in the next decade.

 What’s News 

Streamlined OLED TVs (Organic Light Emitting Diode)

TVs are taken to a new level with super slim, 4mm thin, 3D “ultra-definition” picture quality unrivaled by anything today and bezels that look like infinity pools, just glass. LG takes the cake with their 8 million pixels, or 400% better resolution of existing HD TVs (3840×2160). SONY’s branded version is Crystal LED.

“Haptics” Touch enabled Ultrabooks and Phones

Haptics have been enhanced with electroactive polymer film that expands when hit with voltage and saves 70% more battery power. This enables smartphones, game controllers, and other hand held devices swipe and scroll better. Look for 4th generation iPods Touch with this enhancement.  

Doodling Smart Pens

Scribing has taken on new meaning with smart pens popping out of smart phones and tablets to annotate a photograph, ZigZag or collaborative whiteboarding, and sign just about anything. Your autographed picture, please. Samsung’s SPen and 4G LTE Note will start doodling away on Android’s 2.3 OS. Did I mention the 5.3” AMOLED screen, 16 Gig storage, and 8 megapixel camera? Check the Apple and Andorid app stores soon.

Voice Enablement

Voice-based controls are becoming more standard for everything from cars to mobile devices, and eventually appliances. For example, Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 and iPhone 4G Siri, powered by Nuance. Dragon will help us talk to our TV’s in the future. Find me a great comedy show for tonight at 8:00 PM. Ok!

 The Rumor Mill

Analysts were hot to spot an iPad 3 to be the first to give us the dirt. Although noone can confirm an official sighting, the rumor mill has that we can expect a 1mm increase in depth that you won’t even notice. Also, the camera is rumored to mimic the  iPhone 4S’s much-improved rear camera system, minus the LED flash.  My guess is that it will encorporate broad bush technology enhancements like haptics, voice-based controls, smart pens, and perhaps be able to talk to my TV. 

 Our hope is that more New Hampshire companies plan on attending CES 2013 so we can keep our technology edge.

 Catherine Blake, President

Sales Protocol International



Ask CJ: Good Communication Key to Good Partnership

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

“Two heads are better than one.” That’s a phrase we have all heard when it comes to finding the solution to a problem. What about when it comes to owning and running a business? Are two heads better than one?

NH Division of Economic Development Seacoast Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

When it comes to starting or running a business, there are so many factors to consider that it can make your head spin. A successful business isn’t just about having a needed product or service. It isn’t just about having the ability to market and sell your product or service. Nor is it just about having the drive and temperament to be an entrepreneur. It’s all those things and it might not just be you making those decisions. Many businesses are owned and managed by two or more individuals. This can be advantageous and successful if done right.

Not everyone has the ability or desire to own and operate a business without partners. Financial constraints alone can prevent someone from maintaining sole ownership of a company. Having one or more partners not only eases that burden, but it also opens up the business to having leadership that possesses a variety of talents and strengths. Matt Benson, a corporate attorney with Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson of Manchester, cited these reasons as some of the major advantages of taking on partners in a business venture.

Benson shared a laundry list of considerations for those contemplating starting a business with one or more partners; however, what he kept coming back to was communication. “Free and open communication” is at the top of his list for a successful partnership. If you have good communication, you can avoid a lot of potential conflict. Benson also stressed the importance of having your basic business goals in alignment. Are you looking to create a lifestyle business or are you looking to grow with an eye toward selling the business? Do your goals, philosophies and business ethics match up? Are your individual strengths complementary, and is there respect for the value that each person brings to the table?

Not surprisingly, the comparison to a marriage was brought up and it makes sense. You will be spending a lot of time together and making decisions together that affect your personal and financial well-being. Open communication as you go through the good and the tough times together is critical. If you can’t do that while maintaining mutual respect, you may be headed for divorce. Even a fantastic partnership eventually will come to an end (retirement, death, disability, etc.) and being prepared for an exit is essential. Having buyout documents with transfer restrictions decided upon before they are needed can avoid conflict not only between leadership but for their families as well.

I spoke with David Lahme and Sam Biddle, partners at Tradeport USA in Somersworth, to get their perspective. Lahme and Biddle went into business together almost 10 years ago and cited numerous reasons why a partnership has worked well for them. Combining funds and their complementary strengths were seen as highly instrumental in their success. Lahme said they have the same goals for the business, which is one of Benson’s basic foundation pieces for a good partnership. Lahme also feels comfortable that he can be away from the business and know it will continue to run smoothly with Biddle at the helm.

Biddle shared his thoughts and added that trust is a key component to a successful partnership. Each partner has individual responsibilities, with Biddle handling operations while Lahme focuses on sales and financials. Biddle said he values having someone to bounce ideas off and admitted, “If I had to do everything, I wouldn’t have a life.”

Having a well thought out business plan and laying out the ground rules at the outset are also a part of Tradeport USA’s continued success. Over the years, they have amended their LLC and are now adding a buy/sell agreement.

Not to be dismissed is having the support of a business partner. According to Lahme, “It is easier to jump off a crevasse with someone else.” That certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, “till death do us part.”

Christine J. Davis works for the N.H. Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to provide support for businesses so they can remain viable and growing entities in the community. She can be reached by e-mail at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters. When not performing her work or parenting duties, she can be found volunteering with her girls for the Chamber Children’s Fund, hitting the gym, or spending time with friends and family.

Annual Economic Development Summit a “Declaration of Inspiration”

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Just as inspiration has led countless Granite State entrepreneurs to create products and services that are changing the world, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development is hoping its annual gathering will spark the ideas that result in business formation.

Burns Development Group Principal Linda Burns

“The Declaration of Inspiration” is the theme of the 16th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit to be held at Church Landing in Meredith on Tuesday, December 13th from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

“Inspiration is what drives entrepreneurs to develop new ideas, attempt the impossible and stand tall in a highly competitive business environment,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Christopher Way. “It’s only fitting that we use our annual summit to recognize the great companies that are responsible for growing our economy while also opening the door for new prospective business owners to network with economic development practitioners and partner organizations.”

The keynote speaker for the event will be Burns Development Group Principal Linda Burns, a national site selector with over 30 years experience in corporate recruitment relocation and expansion strategies; economic development and workforce assessment, target marketing, government relations, and non-profit organizational planning.  She brings public sector insight to her consulting due to her years of partnering with the Dallas-Fort Worth region’s cities and the State to market and recruit major companies to Texas, including the corporate headquarters of AT&T, Comerica, Research in Motion/Blackberry, and Blockbuster. Burns will discuss how New Hampshire economic developers and businesses can work together to foster an environment that is attractive to site selectors looking to place clients interested in relocation or expansion.

In addition to the keynote address, there will be two interactive business panels offered. The “Leading the Pack – Inc. 5000” panel will feature a group of New Hampshire businesses including Rustic Crust and Dyn that were featured on this year’s Inc. 5000 list while the “Business Underground –  Rising to the Top” panel will feature a group of emerging companies including EARTHTEC, Animetrics and Tradeport USA that are known for their innovation and cutting edge technology. Other sessions will feature Glen Group Owner Nancy Clark who will discuss “How to Survive When Your Industry is Considered an Expense” and Epiphanies Inc. Co-Owner Allen Voivod who will present “Safety in Numbers: The Crowdsourcing of Inspiration.”

For the third consecutive year, Scott Spradling of the Spradling Group (www.spradlinggroup.com) will be the guest emcee. As a special touch, Melissa Koerner of Friend Your Body (www.friendyourbody.com) will kick off the day by getting attendees’ blood circulating and sharing a few tips for transforming health while “on the go.” Entertainment will be provided by local musician Jim Tyrrell (www.jimtyrrell.net) whose third full-length album “Onward to Yesterday” was released in 2010. The “Commissioner’s Awards for Economic Development Excellence” will also be presented.

Admission to the 16th Annual New Hampshire Economic Development Summit is free due to the generosity of event sponsor Public Service of New Hampshire. New Hampshire Business Review is the Summit’s media sponsor.

“Public Service of New Hampshire is once again happy to support this great conference which brings together businesses, economic developers and elected officials to help build our state’s economy,” said Public Service of New Hampshire Economic & Community Development Manager Pat McDermott. “All economic development starts with good ideas and I look forward to the networking, information sharing and exchange of views at this signature event.”

To register for the Summit, please email Catherine Goff at cgoff@dred.state.nh.us or call 271-2341.

9th Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit to Focus on “Growth Through Collaboration”

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

“Growth Through Collaboration” is the theme of the Ninth Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit to be held Wednesday, December 7th from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel in Manchester. 

Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Patriarch Partners, LLC will speak on “How to Save American Manufacturing” at the 9th Annual New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit on December 7th at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

The annual event is presented by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the New Hampshire High Technology Council and will bring together state and national leaders of business and industry who, in thought-provoking presentations and workshops, will focus on how New Hampshire’s high tech and manufacturing industries can stimulate growth through collaboration. 

“Manufacturing and high tech sectors continue to be very important to New Hampshire’s economy,” Gov. John Lynch said. “We have a successful economic strategy in place here in New Hampshire that has allowed us to be a national economic leader. That is why it is important we continue to work together to ensure we are making the right investments as a state to strengthen our economy for the future.” 

Speakers at the summit will include Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Patriarch Partners, LLC; economist Dennis Delay of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies; and Roger Kilmer, Director of Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology. Tilton, whose company bought and reopened the former Fraser Papers paper mill in Gorham in May as Gorham Paper and Tissue, will speak on “How To Save American Manufacturing;” while “Smart Manufacturing/High Technology – NH’s Leading Economic Sector” will be the subject of Delay’s address. Kilmer, the keynote speaker at the summit luncheon, will address “Becoming a Next Generation Manufacturer.”

Three one-hour workshops will be offered concurrently and presented twice during the morning session by a panel of industry experts: “Supply Chain Development and Collaboration,” “Developing the Future Workforce in NH Advanced Manufacturing” and “Technology-Driven Market Intelligence.” 

Sponsors for the event include Citizens Bank, BAE Systems, Chapter #327/Southern New Hampshire of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, New Hampshire Business Review, the New Hampshire Department of Education, Southern New Hampshire Chapter #253 of the Association for Operations Management, TradePort USA and the New Hampshire Machining Association.

Cost for the summit is $95 per person. For more information, contact Zenagui Brahim at 603-226-3200 or email zenaguib@nhmep.org To register online, go to http://www.nhbia.org/CWT/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=92. Phone registrations should be directed to Christine Ducharme at the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire at 224-5388, ext. 113.